Tuesday, June 19, 2012

All it's quacked up to be: The Big Duck of Flanders, New York

The "D.A."

Volunteer Janice fills us in on the history of The Duck

Lots of duckabilia inside...

Kia and Pouran Eshghi generously donated The Duck to Suffolk County, New York back in 1987.

They've got some ducky souvenirs...

...and original artwork, too.

These buildings, part of the original duck farm, are also on the property.

As an eccentric roadside attraction, The Big Duck really fits the bill.

One of the all-time great eccentric roadside attractions resides on Route 24 in the town of Flanders in Suffolk County on Long Island in New York State. There you'll find a 15-foot wide, 30-foot long and 20-foot tall white concrete duck that dates back to 1931. It's such a beloved figure that it is on the National Register of Historic Places, and rightly so, for it is a marvel to behold. Eight-one years ago, Martin and Jeule Maurer were raising Peking ducks and wanted to bring attention to their Riverhead, New York duck farm and business. Inspired by a building shaped like a giant coffee pot they had visited out west, they decided to put up a duck-shaped dwelling to get the attention of West Main Street motorists. The Maurers collaborated with a carpenter and two stage show designers to create a giant wooden duck frame that was covered in wire mesh and then cement. The structure was painted a pleasing bright white, with orange for the bill and Model-T taillights for the eyes. The building was so striking, the Maurers renamed their shop and business The Big Duck Ranch. They relocated their business and the Duck to the nearby town of Flanders in 1936 where it roosted until 1987. No longer using the structure, the Duck's then-owners, Kia and Pouran Eshghi, donated the lame Duck to Suffolk County, who moved it to another location on Route 24, and then back to its original Flanders spot in 2007 where it sits today as a gift shop and good will ambassaduck. The Duck is such a perfect example of a building in the shape of the product sold within that the term "duck" is now used by roadside architecture buffs to describe just such a structure. Buildings that functioned as colossal 3D representational advertisements were once common along pre-Interstate highways but are rare commodities today, so the Big Duck is a big treat, indeed. Let's hope they protect and cherish it for another 81 years...I'd be down with that.


The Good Luck Duck said...

You are quacking right up my downy alley!

Anonymous said...

We were just there last month! I've got a post coming up about the duck. Unfortunately, the gift shop was closed. We were there on a Saturday so that was kinda quacky for the gift shop to be closed.

Fuzzy said...

Even as someone who lives on Long Island, I cannot pass by without stopping for a picture every time!

Everyone loves the duck! As a matter of fact, our baseball team is call "The Long Island Ducks" and their mascot is named Quackerjack. At Christmas time there is a "duck lighting". LOVE IT!


Gunnar and Sherry said...

Good Luck: I figured you'd be all over that!

elf: Too bad about the gift shop. Waddle it take to get you to go back?

Fuzzy: I know what you mean. We have the "Big Blue Bug" (a giant blue termite statue) here in RI on I-95. I pass by it every day on my way to work and it makes me smile every time I see it. They light it up for Christmas, too!